Published: 05 February 2019
Changes to the HGV Road User Levy came into effect on Feb 1st giving lower polluting lorries discounted rates in an effort to convince more drivers to use more environment friendly vehicles as the government puts various plans in action as part of their aim to prevent further air pollution across the nation.
Under the new Levy, Heavy Goods Vehicles that meet Euro VI standards can apply for a 10% reduction on their levy charges. Officials hope that this will lead to more drivers purchasing vehicles that meet the Euro VI standards to cut costs for their business in the long-run.
The alterations were announced in March 2018, as an incentive for truck drivers to shift business focus and move towards vehicles that give out lower emissions, causing less pollution.
The newest generation of trucks available for purchase cut emissions by 80% more when compared with previous vehicles, based on Government research. However, those with a Euro V class, which is a more common and more polluting vehicle will see costs increase of 20% or more, rather than any form of discount.
Put in place in 2014, the road user levy is applied to vehicles of 12 tonnes or more and is charged to ensure drivers make a contribution for the impact their vehicles have on the road. The cost of the levy is altered depending on the qualities of their vehicle such as weight, axle configuration and levy duration.
Jon Lawes, managing director at Hitachi Capital Vehicle Solutions, spoke on the matter. He said it was the right action for government officials to take when handling air pollution given out from lorries and mentioned that the drivers will be able to benefit from “substantial” cost benefits if they make their fleets more environment-friendly.
He went on to warn that this transition could take quite some time for the industry, saying it will be a “step-change that can’t be achieved overnight”.
Elaborating, he said:
"There is currently no approved Euro VI retrofit option for hauliers and the impact of the HGV levy, combined with incoming clean air zones, is putting pressure on haulage and goods companies throughout the UK. We've seen a 200 per cent increase in our compressed natural gas HGV fleet in the last 12 months which is hugely encouraging.
"However, the migration will take time and considered investment, so it will be a gradual evolution of HGV fleets. Once made, the benefits from cost savings to a greener and more compliant fleet will be substantial, enabling the total cost of ownership model to work for both the customer, and indeed the environment."
For the moment, this could become an issue for many smaller businesses, increasing costs due to the levy, or for the purpose of investing in a new, environmentally friendly fleet that will benefit the business in the long run.